“Don’t worry about what has happened in the past. Let it go. Live in the present guided by instincts and feelings. Our minds may change with age, maturity, and life itself but our hearts don’t — they only expand with emotion,” my dear friend, Maurizio, said to me as we spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the beach. As a true Roman, his life story is written on his face, his words are carefully chosen through “le sfumature della lingua italiana” (the nuance of the Italian language) and his sensibility is reflected in his eyes. Despite our 20 year age difference, we have come to similar conclusions within our respective life paths. From my arrival to a small seaside town on the Roman Coast over a year ago from NYC, he has been a steady protector and voice of reason — especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Based upon his own experiences through the beauty and brutality of life itself, he simply gets it.
“You know Marisa, life is really beautiful. Even with its difficulties, there is always something to be grateful for,” he said as we watched the sunset over the sea and golden light was shed upon the medieval neighborhood off in the distance. It could have been one of the best possible recordedcinematographic scenes, yet we had front row seats, first hand—smack in the middle of reality. He proceeded to say that when we are ever so lucky to have someone enter our lives that makes us feel, believe, see, and deeply love in ways unimaginable, we must follow it to understand layers of ourselves and who is sharing the experience with us. If the love is reciprocated, we can live it through its many components that craft a durable union. “There are two types of people in this world…those who settle and those who soar. Even if I must soar alone, it’s about finding inner balance and knowing that I can give all of myself guided by the heart.” As a father of two lovely daughters and divorcee it had to take the loss of his family unit to re-invent and understand himself. Only with acceptance and time has he been able to move forward.
Quite often we meet people when we’re not ready for a variety of reasons. It may be that there isn’t enough interest on our part or theirs, the timing is not right, we’re actually in another relationship or we’re healing from a recent break-up. We may be investing ourselves in another facet of life such as studies, work, or personal growth. It may also be a matter of being afraid to lose our liberty or living behind self-constructed walls that shield us from being intimate with someone else due to fear. We may even go as far to convince ourselves that the person who actually doesn’t treat us well and is obviously harmful to our well being is the “right person” for us (based upon chemistry). Furthermore, it makes us closed off to meeting someone who may be a better fit or we discount someone else who values us and wants to construct a relationship that is meaningful — but because we don’t feel that mind blowing spark (based upon chemistry), we don’t even entertain it.
But what if we’re able to think and see clearly both with the mind and heart—that perhaps there is “enough” interest and attraction and we’re open to see wholeheartedly if our time spent together can actually deepen into something long-lasting and secure? The only way to truly follow the heart and discover ourselves and others is to let go of pre-set ideas, past hurts, and self-doubts. When we truly allow ourselves to experience each encounter in the present with our date, partner, and/or spouse from a place of openness and trust, we won’t go wrong. “Al cuore non si comanda” when translated from Italian to English means “you can’t rule the heart”. The heart is ever expanding and flexible—it will never fail us as long as we protect it within healthy reason, respect its desires, and use it with best intentions for our well being and for the well being of others. “Follow your heart where it takes you…for there’s nothing else to worry about,” Maurizio gently remarked with a smile. The sun finally set and it was time to go…we both parted ways with a content heart.